First, Wichita is the home to Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker-Learjet and their presence come along with their Flight Safety counterparts who provide recurrent training for pilots and mechanics. Since Mr. Ford is a pilot in real life and the FAA has no special exceptions, even Han Solo must report for training!
But, who is the “real” Indiana Jones? You might be surprised to find out! Read on to discover how real Dr. Jones, Arbor Day and The Chisholm Trail converge, you guessed it, in Wichita.
Here in Wichita, there is a unique location from which to celebrate this day: The Landmark Mulberry Tree. This 200-year old tree served as a marker along the Chisholm trail for Native Americans, cowboys as they herded cattle and travelers heading west.
It stands today on the lawn of the Kansas Masonic Home, not far from the school, and, with permission, Northfield has had a picnic lunch there for several years. Never missing a teachable moment, the lunch includes presentations of readings and musical compositions, some original, from the student body.
This year featured two specific additions. The first, a handmade podium carved from, yes, a single tree trunk, by the father of one of the students. Northfield is a very special place.
Dr. Jones Has A Family Tree Too!
The second was a particularly special speaker, the grandson of the founder of Wichita itself, J.R. Mead. His grandson, Dr. Schuyler Jones, is said to be the real Indiana Jones. A native of Wichita, KS, he retired from Oxford University, England as Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum of anthropology and world archaeology. He carried out much of his research in Afghanistan. His resume definitely could have informed the Dr. Jones of cinema!
This day, though, he spoke about his grandfather Mead’s Wichita. The early days, when the Chisholm Trail was main street and the now 200 year old mulberry tree was half its age. The details are contained in one of several books he has written: Hunting and Trading On The Great Plains. My reading list is getting longer….
As we sat enjoying the cool day and homemade buffet lunch, I could sense the confluence of time, geography and persona. If that tree could talk. Seriously. The things it has witnessed and been a part of. Yet, here it stands, older than anyone alive today collecting stories we can only imagine. As a collector of stories, would that it could share some of the tales it has stored up!
Is there an occasion where you have sensed the convergence of seeming unrelated subjects? Please share those combinations with us in the comments below.